Me Before You

Me Before You Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lou (narrating again) runs into the emergency ward and finds Nathan. Nathan tells her that this isn’t the first time that Will has had pneumonia, and it probably won’t be his last. Lou goes in to see Will, as Camilla sits next to his bed. Lou offers to sit with Will and give Camilla a break, but Camilla declines. Lou thinks about how she had seen Will last Friday in fine health, if a bit tired. After a weekend spent in a whirlwind of last-minute travel details, Lou was shocked to find that Will was in the hospital when she tried to come in to work on Monday.
Moyes starts this chapter suddenly in the hospital, mimicking Lou’s own confusion at the very quick onset of Will’s illness. One of the most depressing aspects of Will’s condition is that he will never know when a flare-up like pneumonia will completely take away his choices for the foreseeable future.
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Nathan leaves the hospital ward and Lou waits for another hour outside Will’s room. Camilla finally comes out of Will’s room and asks Lou to stay with Will while she goes to get a change of clothes. Lou sits at Will’s bedside, thinking about how frighteningly fast Will got sick and how she feels no guilt about breaking things off with Patrick. Lou reaches under Will’s blanket and holds Will’s hand, hoping that some part of his subconscious can feel it.
Lou is one of the few people that Camilla trusts to stay with Will, recognizing that Lou loves Will as much as his family does. At Will’s bedside, Lou makes it clear that her feelings for Will are much stronger than her feelings for Patrick ever were. Lou subtly compares love to an illness, commenting that both can strike with no warning, and that humans cannot control either.
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Camilla returns and Lou goes back to waiting outside Will’s room. Camilla comes out around 4 pm to tell Louisa that Will is awake. Lou goes in to talk to Will, trying to keep up their normal sarcastic banter, but Will is too tired. Will admits that their trip can’t happen now. Lou reminds him that they can go later, but Will seems unsure.
Will’s physical health affects his mental state, such that his personality seems to change when he is in such physical distress. Lou stays hopeful for the future, but Will seems unable to see a future in which he is ever healthy enough to truly enjoy life.
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Lou goes back to Will’s house to get Will more clothing, and she runs into Steven, who tells Lou that this is actually Will’s third bout of pneumonia in two years. After Steven leaves, Lou can’t stand the silence of Will’s house, imagining the emptiness if Will were dead. She dreads cancelling all of their travel arrangements. Nathan comes in to drop off some extra medicine for Will when he gets home.
Lou finally has to come to terms with the harsh reality of Will’s situation. His life is now marked by bouts of severe illness, as well as the everyday discomfort of his paralysis. Lou also gets a taste of what would happen if Will were gone. Both a life of constant illness and an end to that life are equally painful for Lou to consider at this point.
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Nathan notices how upset Lou is, and Lou admits that she knows that the Traynors hired her to convince Will not to commit suicide. Nathan also knows about Will’s end of life plan, but has more sympathy for Will’s choice. Nathan knows exactly how bleak Will’s medical future is and has been with Will through all the most painful moments of his recovery. Lou asks Nathan if he thinks that Will’s outlook has changed at all since she came to work for him, but Nathan isn’t sure. Finally, Lou asks if Nathan would still go with them if she could arrange another trip that the doctors would agree to in Will’s compromised state. Nathan, with some reservations, agrees.
Nathan is able to put aside his emotional feelings for Will to consider the physical perspective of what Will is going through. Nathan puts less importance on Will’s mental state than Lou does—Lou seems to believe that Will’s happiness will solve everything, but Nathan can see the medical issues that Will will always have regardless of his life choices. Still, both Lou and Nathan show that they still have hope for Will by taking this trip.
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